clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

OTM Official Position: Red Sox In-Game Entertainment Staff Should Not Kill Rafael Devers

Seems kind of obvious, but we have to say it.

Los Angeles Angels v Boston Red Sox Photo by Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images

Remember the ‘90s? George Clooney was but a humble TV actor. Michael Jordan was the most famous athlete on the planet. And people started wondering whether dumping toxic waste into rivers was a bad idea. What a time to be alive! But more relevant for today’s purposes, I also associate the decade with something else: the Jumbotron Wars.

Until the 90s, in-game entertainment consisted of nothing more than organ music, prompts to guess that day’s attendance, and the occasional drunken, shirtless brawl in the bleachers. But, with the NBA leading the way, things began to change during the Clinton Administration, as teams started pumping in pop songs and prompting the crowd to cheer with hokey noise meters. Many people were not happy about this! And for a brief period roughly lasting from 1992-1998, the debate about whether Jumbotrons provided a harmless bit of fun or diluted the game product and created zombie fans was a semi-regular topic of newspaper columns and sports talk radio. Everyone had to take a side.

Those days are gone because, regardless of how much the debate raged, teams didn’t seem to care: they had their shiny new stadiums equipped with shiny toys, and they were going to use them, god damn it. And today, taking a position on either side is stale and pointless. You might be absolutely correct in arguing that in-game entertainment creates a distracting, robotic environment that pales in comparison to organic crowd noise, but the war’s over, and you lost. There isn’t much point in picking a side anymore.

But that was before Tuesday night, when the Fenway Park in-game entertainment staff nearly decapitated and killed Rafael Devers.

Two days ago, the Red Sox once again made use of their shiny new toy: lights that go blinky-blink-flash-flash. The new LED light show was first unveiled after the Adam Duvall walk off. But the team has since begun breaking it out for much less exciting plays, up to and including completely routine fly balls to center field. And that’s how, on Tuesday night in between the top and bottom of the ninth, Rafael Devers almost got drilled by a baseball:

Yup, that’s the Red Sox in-game entertainment people cutting the lights just as a baseball was hurtling towards the single most valuable asset the team has. Hey, Raffy, you ok?

Raffy was, thankfully, unharmed. (And there might not be anyone happier about that than the guy who threw the ball, Jarren Duran. Can you imaging how terrible it would be if, on top of all his struggles, he nailed the team’s best player in the face?) And, admittedly, the ball probably wouldn’t have actually killed Devers had it made contact, as I shamelessly and click-baitedly implied above. But no matter: the Jumbotron Wars are officially back and, as someone paid to write about sports on the internet, I am obligated to have a take and defend it to the death, using whatever tool I have in my keyboard, up to and including over-the-top-hyperbole.

Therefore, OTM is taking the following official position in the Blinky-Blink-Flash-Flash Battle of the newly rekindled Jumbotron Wars: It is bad to kill your best player by turning off the lights at the very moment he is trying to catch a baseball. Good, glad we got that on the record.